The United Kingdom has, for decades, offered the music industry so many great musical acts. From The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Motorhead and Judas Priest to David Bowie and Pink Floyd and others, the list of great bands is almost endless. For all of the great acts that have come from the United Kingdom, it has also produced a variety of noteworthy independent acts throughout the years. Late this past April Am I Dead Yet? added itself to that list of notable indie UK acts with its debut self-titled album. The 11-song, 47-minute album is an interesting record whose musical arrangements will appeal to fans of David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and even Pink Floyd while its lyrical content will appeal to an even wider array of listeners. That is proven early on in the form of the song ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’ It will be addressed shortly. ‘People Are Dangerous’ uses its music and lyrics to show just as much as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth’ to help show what makes this record stand out. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Futuristic Paranoia,’ which immediately follows ‘People Are Dangerous,’ is yet another example of what makes Am I Dead Yet? stand out as one of this year’s most notable indie music acts. When it is considered along with the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive. When all of these songs are considered with the five remaining songs not noted here, the whole of Am I Dead Yet? becomes a record that reminds people the independent music world is just as alive (bad pun fully intended) as the mainstream realm with great acts.
Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled album is one of the most surprising albums of 2019. It is a record that proves, over the course of its 47-minute run time, that the independent music realm is just as alive with talent as the mainstream realm. That is proven in part early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’ The song’s musical arrangement is one part of what makes it such an interesting offering. The use of the keyboards, the gong, guitars and general production generates a sound and feeling in the arrangement that conjures thoughts of some of David Bowie’s best works. One could even argue a comparison to some of Depeche Mode’s best works, too. That is not a bad thing, either. It is an amalgam that translates quite well even with its melancholic feeling. That melancholic feeling is important to note because it is in such stark contrast to the song’s lyrical content, which seems actually quite uplifting.
The song’s lead verse reads, “Britain’s got talent/You bet the f*** it has/But it’s not on a game show/On the pages of a sad celebrity mag/Laugh now/For one day, we’ll be in control, oh yeah/It’s coming up from the sewers and the cracks in the walls/Lost souls/Tired of it all/weirdos…queers in padded cells/We salute you/The anti-heroes/Dream out loud/For all that you’re worth/The meek shall inherit the Earth, my friend/The meek shall inherit the Earth.” The song continues in its second verse, which reads, “If they say they want it enough/Will they deserve it?/Not in a million years/Fame ain’t easy…not even if you cry me a river of tears/Laugh now, for one day/We’ll be in control, oh yeah/And we won’t have even earned it from the school/Where they teach you to rock and roll.” This is a full-on message of hope and empowerment. It is using a timeless adage to remind listeners that hope is possible. It empowers those people who have felt themselves the dregs of society, but who are in fact the underdogs who so deservedly will one day in fact inherit the earth. That positive message, set against the melancholic vibe to make that lyrical message that much more impacting. The arrangement’s sound and feel will connect with listeners because it touches on the feelings and emotions of said listeners. The positive message reminds listeners that something good is out there. The whole of that pairing makes this song one of the most notable songs featured in this record. Of course it is just one of the album’s most notable works. ‘People Are Dangerous’ is just as notable as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’
‘People Are Dangerous’ in part because of its musical arrangement, which is centered around its infectious bluesy guitar riff and percussion. The noted guitar riff almost immediately conjures thoughts of Depeche Mode and Pink Floyd. The use of the Latin percussion and tympani adds even more to that feeling. The chorus advances that sound even more, with the end result being an arrangement that is yet another powerful example of what makes AIDY? such a surprisingly enjoyable album. The song’s musical side is just one part of what makes it stand out. Its lyrical side is just as impacting as its musical side. The song’s lead verse reads, “We’re all wounded creatures with stories to tell/Under the influence/Under the spell/Walkin’ the line between serenity and sorrow/We self medicate for a better tomorrow/Out in the cold try to weather the storm/Stokin’ the fire to keep us all warm/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/They’ll wound you with their words/And hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/And lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye.” The song’s second verse reads, “Now here are we?/Still chasin’ our dreams/Living a nightmare…Holdin’ on tight/We’ve hit rock bottom/It comes through fear/Of being forgotten/Dictating direction by building more walls/If we stand together/We can watch them all fall/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/they’ll wound you with their words/They’ll hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/Lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye/Stop pretending everything’s alright/Have you the heart for the fight?/Better to die on your own two feet/Than to live life on your knees.” In reading this, it becomes clear that this song’s lyrical content is a social commentary. It is a commentary about what has happened to society and what we as a people are doing to ourselves and to one another. This wording is an original take on a familiar trope that will certainly keep listeners engaged in its own right. Add that to the maintained engagement and entertainment that the song’s musical arrangement, and the end result is a song that is instantly one of this record’s most memorable works. It is not the last of the album’s most memorable and notable songs, either. ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ is yet another of the record’s truly memorable and notable works.
‘Futuristic Paranoia’ conjures thoughts of Gary Numan’s most recent albums right from its outset in terms of its arrangement. That is due to the use of its electronics and its Middle Eastern elements. The vocals and the rest of the arrangement’s elements add to that comparison even more. What is important to note here is that while the comparison to Gary Numan’s work can be made here, it cannot be said that this arrangement is a blatant rip-off of his work. The two are just stylistically similar, is all, and that is a very good thing here. While the song’s musical arrangement clearly does a lot to make it engaging and entertaining, it is only one part of the song. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to its whole as its musical material.
The lead verse in this song states, “When you think you’re alone, remember they’ll be watching you/Wherever you are, night or day/When the nightmare comes and you are shaking in the dead of night/Nothing makes it go away/It’s just your average, ordinary futuristic paranoia.” The second verse follows, “When the voices in your head get fearless and come out to play…deep down they speak the truth/When the strange bacterial shapes and the screen begin their merry dance/Your world goes pixilated/It’s not use/It’s just your average ordinary futuristic paranoia.” This one is deep, needless to say. It’s as if the group is saying that so much of what we think is in our heads and we have to remind ourselves of this. Yet again, that is just this critic’s own take on this. It could be totally wrong. Hopefully even if it is wrong, it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark. That aside, the fact that this deep content will certainly generate a lot of interest and conversation among listeners proves why this song stands out. The addition of that noted musical content to the lyrics makes the song stand out even more. All things considered, they make ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ a work that is certain to be a fan favorite both on record and live. Keeping this in mind, when this song is considered alongside the other songs noted here – both of which will be fan favorites in their own right – they show collectively what makes Am I Dead Yet? a pleasant surprise for every music lover. When those songs are set alongside the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive. When that group is considered along with the rest of the songs not directly addressed here, the whole of the record becomes a presentation that proves proudly that the independent music industry – even overseas – is just as alive with talent as America’s independent music realm.
Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled full-length studio recording is a surprisingly entertaining first effort from the UK-based group. Its musical arrangements take the best elements of so many of the group’s more well-known mainstream counterparts for a whole that is entirely original. Sure, the comparisons are there, but none of the arrangements just rip-off the songs from the already noted counterparts. The record’s lyrical content is just as surprisingly engaging and entertaining as its musical content. All things considered, they make Am I Dead Yet? one of the most surprisingly enjoyable records of 2019, and more proof that the independent music industry in whole is alive and well with plenty of talent. More information on Am I Dead Yet? is available online now along with all of Am I Dead Yet?’s latest news and more at:
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